Joe Speakman Excited For Must See Racing's Ohio Invasion
NEW PHILIDELPHIA, Ohio – When the 2017 Must See Racing Sprint Car Series schedule was first announced during the offseason, among those most excited about the tour's inaugural trip to Midvale Speedway was Richwood, Ohio veteran Joe Speakman.
After all, as his son and crew chief Braden put it, "It's less than four hours from our house!"
Joe Speakman will race in front of his home state fans this weekend at Ohio's Midvale Speedway. (CSP/Chris Seelman photo)
With a smaller-budget, family-run race team, the Speakman family savors any chance they have to be able to race a little bit closer to home.
Not only will they get to accomplish that on Saturday during the inaugural Buckeye State Shootout, they'll be able to fly the state flag as one of several Ohio representatives running full-time in the series this season.
Alongside two-time defending champion Jimmy McCune and his nephew Anthony, along with fellow veteran Jerry Caryer, Speakman makes up part of a strong and committed Buckeye State contingent for the Midvale event, admitting that it is a little bit extra-sweet to be able to race in front of a home crowd.
"It's not just important because of the race being in Ohio, but it's important because we want to keep improving every race," said Speakman.
Driving a 1980s Shores Chassis that he modified years ago, Speakman has spent the early season fine-tuning the car, following a rebuild from a vicious crash at Shady Bowl Speedway last May.
Now, he feels like he and the team have found something going into their home race on Saturday.
"We're making a pretty big change to the top wing," Speakman explained. "The way it was, when I would slide it back it would get really steep. The new mounting brackets should make it more consistent as the wing slider moves it."
"I really feel like our Wasserbeck engine is right up there on power. I know we've got the right tools, so now it's just about getting better and meeting our goals."
Speakman enters the weekend tied for sixth in points with Caryer, with a best finish this season of seventh, scored last time out at Owosso Speedway on July 1.
His hope is to improve that mark by a handful of positions by the end of race day.
"Man, my goal this year has been to break into the top five," Speakman explained. "We got closer at Owosso, but we weren't quite there yet. The way I see it, there's no better place to check off that goal than in my home state."
Speakman adds that while it may not be obvious to outsiders, he and his car have made many strides compared to where they were last season.
"We have definitely been running faster lap times this year ... and doing so with two-race old tires," Speakman said. "Also, our finishes have improved. Part of that is just my getting used to running the 410, plus working with my setup. Thanks to Braden for his help. I love doing this but if he ever decided to quit, I would probably have to call it quits also. Racing is a family sport and I couldn't do this without him."
"I would also like to thank Jeff and Linda Bloom for making me feel comfortable to come and talk to Jeff for advice, or just to hang out and chat. Also a big thank you to Jim and Jimmy McCune for their help at the track, borrowing stuff from them and the helpful advice they give; it's all been a benefit to me this year."
Jimmy McCune enters the Midvale event, which is the only series stop in the state of Ohio this season, with a 55-point lead over National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Bloom in the championship standings.
McCune's nephew Anthony sits a career-high third in points through four events, three back of Bloom.
Gates at Midvale Speedway open at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, with hot laps kicking off at that time. Qualifying will roll off at 5 p.m., as the Must See Racing sprint cars take aim at the all-time Midvale track record, followed by racing action at 6:30 p.m.
For more information on Must See Racing, including driver and team news, points standings, results, schedule updates and more, visit www.mustseeracing.com.
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Performance Motorsports Network, Radio Co-Host
Must See Racing, Series Announcer
Middle Speedway July 15th 2017
July 2017 TV Alert
Jimmy McCune Collects Second-Straight Firecracker 50 Win At Owosso
OVID, Mich. – Jimmy McCune added another memory to his list of accomplishments at Owosso Speedway on Saturday night, scoring the victory in the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series Firecracker 50 for the second-straight year.
Taking the lead from nephew Anthony on lap six, McCune stormed off into the distance and dominated the rest of the way, ultimately collecting his 19th-career series victory and third in four races this season.
Celebrating once again at the track where he collected his first-ever professional open wheel victory, McCune credited his team and a fast race car for his performance on the holiday weekend.
"This car was amazing tonight," McCune said in victory lane. "It didn't seem to matter where we were on the race track ... it drove good through the air, it drove good in traffic and it drove good all by itself. It's just a pleasure that I get to drive this thing."
"It's a blast to drive here; I've always liked coming up to Owosso. It's a great track, it's a great facility, there's lots of room ... the fans are great and it means a lot to come back here and have the success we've had the last few years."
Tom Jewell started from the pole position after a seven-car invert and led the opening two laps, holding off Anthony McCune in a side-by-side duel before the 19-year-old charged ahead in Turn 1 and took control of the race on the third round.
But while the front row dueled side-by-side, it allowed sixth-starting Jimmy McCune to move through traffic and close in quickly on the lead. Dispatching Jewell for second on lap four, Jimmy McCune latched on to his nephew's back Nerf bar and laid in wait for Anthony to slip.
That happened in Turn 1 on the sixth circuit, when Anthony McCune drifted just wide enough to allow Jimmy McCune past on the inside lane, but a caution one lap later for an incident on the backstretch involving Derek Snyder and Jeff Bloom gave the younger McCune a second chance at his uncle.
Jimmy McCune nailed the restart, however, driving off to as much as a five-second lead while Anthony McCune valiantly held off a hard-charging Brian Gerster through the race's middle stages.
But what appeared to be a sure-fire McCune family one-two was foiled by a caution with seven laps to go, when Teddy Alberts looped his car in Turn 4 and kicked up a cloud of dirt, setting up a chaotic final restart.
Anthony McCune's car sputtered on fuel when the race went green, allowing Gerster past as Jimmy McCune cruised home over the final laps.
In the end, it was Gerster trailing the two-time and defending champion home by 4.699 seconds, happy with the result but still looking for more out of a car that was completely rebuilt before the start of the season.
"We destroyed this race car here last year, and Dick Myers and Rick Ferguson have done a great job getting it back to a starting point, but we're still working some things out on it," Gerster admitted. "It's a bit different than it used to be. We weren't bad, but we just weren't in the same class as the 88 (Jimmy McCune. I got hung up in dirty air off the start and then we just fought forward the rest of the way."
"The McCune family ... that Toledo mafia whipped us tonight and we've just got to get better before the next time out."
Anthony McCune completed the podium, notching his career-best Must See Racing finish and third-consecutive third-place finish dating back to June 24, including a pair of non-winged sprint car events.
"The car started to run out on that last restart, and when it got to sputtering I just couldn't get it off the corners," the younger McCune lamented. "I wanted that one-two ... but the last couple races have been really good for us and it's really built up my confidence. I'm trying to follow in Jimmy's footsteps and we did that for quite a while tonight."
Ike Beasley finished fourth, one lap down, followed by home state driver Derek Snyder.
In preliminary action, Gerster scored his 23rd-career Abe's Auto Parts & Sales Fast Qualifying Award with a lap of 13.276 seconds (101.687 mph) around the three-eighths-mile, progressively-banked oval.
Tom Jewell and Jimmy McCune won their respective 10-lap heat races.
The Must See Racing Sprint Car Series returns to action on July 15 with its inaugural appearance at Ohio's Midvale Speedway.
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